Paula R. Stern

No rockets in the settlements

That’s right. None.

This morning, two rockets slammed into Israel – perhaps more will have been fired from Gaza into Israel by the time you read this. A rocket hit a house in Netivot, badly damaging the house as well as a neighboring one. The man inside the house, with the grace of God, was not injured. Another rocket hit Beersheba and schools in both that city and Ashdod have been closed for the day.

“We claim responsibility for firing two rockets on Friday against the region of Sdot Negev,” said the terrorist group that fired the rocket. So, they know where they aimed, where they hit. There was no apology that they meant to hit somewhere else.There is no confusion here. It is not that they were aiming at a military target and missed.

By contrast, here in the “settlements,” my children went to school – on time and without fear of where they would need to hide if a siren suddenly went off and they had to go running.

In fact, the idea of a rocket hitting Maale Adumim (or any of the settlements in Judah and Shomron) is so out there that the one time a siren did sound (by mistake) during the Cast Lead war, my daughter and her friends were terrified and traumatized (A Child’s Alarm). Her words at the time, just a child’s words, were very profound, “We had tons of kids that cried. Even Rena cried. It was so scary the siren. I wasn’t ready for it. And Tehilla didn’t know what it was because in America they don’t have this.”

My daughter wasn’t “ready for it” – not then, not now. She does not grow up under attack as do the children in Israel’s south. As for Tehilla, who had recently come to Israel, she too was not prepared. That’s because in America they don’t have rockets slamming into their cities, not in Germany, France, nor in most countries in the world. Only here in Israel does it happen – and only here do some in our country find excuses rather than accept the blatant truth that even our enemies offer us.

The left wing of our country look to blame the right. They blame us – “see where you live – that’s why…that’s why…” That’s why, what? I want to ask them. Arabs have had no problem blowing up buses and shooting rockets from Kiryat Shemona in the north to Eilat in the south. Tel Aviv, Netanya, Jerusalem – and yet very rarely are there attacks in those so-called settlements.

Yes, there are some and they are as deadly and horrible as those in other parts of the country. Enough to prove we are part of Israel; certainly not enough to suggest we are the cause of all the other attacks.

Isn’t it interesting that not a single rocket has hit the “occupied” territories – the single reason the Arabs are supposedly at war with us. In English (not in Arabic, of course), they will announce that as soon as Israel returns to the 1967 borders, it will all be different. I’m not sure what “different” means, because for the most I have heard only that it is an offer of a hudna, a temporary ceasefire to last 10 years (unless, of course, they break it sooner which, according to Mohammed, they have the right to do because it would be an agreement with infidels, of course, and therefore, non-binding).

So, on this cloudy morning in the beautiful city of Jerusalem, I watch the city welcome a new week knowing that about 1 million Israelis are, again, under fire. The target of the rockets remains, as it has been for more than a decade, land and places that are supposedly accepted as Israel, now, before, and always. And the land that some question our right to “occupy” – remains unharmed, untargeted, and quiet.

The truth is there for us to see – if only we would accept it. The truth is that the Arabs recognize there are no “settlements,” no “occupied territories” according to some fictional line that came and went inside of 19 years. The green line is meaningless – to the Arabs at least. They do not recognize our rights to Shderot or Ashkelon any more than they recognize our rights to Maale Adumim or Ofra. All are “legitimate” targets because the occupation they want to end is the same in Tel Aviv as in all parts of Jerusalem, and everywhere else from Metulla on southward.

So, no rockets hit my city or anywhere around me today. My children are in school, where children belong. We had a beautiful, quiet Shabbat. We celebrated my husband’s birthday with two of our married children coming over and a family of new immigrants joining us for a meal. The weather was hot, but nice – as it was for most of Israel.

I left home this morning and drove 25 minutes to my office. The proximity of the yishuvim is a major draw to those of us who want to live close but enjoy the quality of life a smaller place can offer. Why fight the traffic and the crowds when you can live in a beautiful, quiet town, village, or city and have all the convenience of the larger cities just minutes away?

It took most people in the coastal area of Israel longer to get to work than it took me to get here. I still want to describe life in the settlements, to dispel any notion that our lives are different from every other Israeli – and more, why in many ways it is even better. But for today, my mind is preoccupied with the thought that the Arabs are smarter than many of my own people – they at least, understand we are all Israelis living under the threat of an enemy that wants all of us gone.

They are bombing pre-1967 Israel because it is convenient, just as they would bomb all of post-1967 Israel if their rockets reached that far. They will bomb Tel Aviv without a qualm, just as much as Otniel, Beit Haggai, or Modiin.

They were at war with us in 1966, before the “occupation” as much as in 1968 and every year since. “It is not the occupation, stupid” should be our national slogan. It is Israel they hate – all of it, every inch. Israel is their target and today, they hit their target for the 455th time this year.

About the Author
Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write her thoughts and dream of a trip to Italy, Scotland, and beyond.
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